Trajectories of Depressive Symptoms Among Black American Adolescents: Sociocultural, Racism and Familial Predictors

Ava Reck, Eleanor Seaton, Assaf Oshri, Steven Kogan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: The development of depressive symptoms often increases in adolescence, and for Black American youth, can result in disproportionately long-lasting and deleterious outcomes. Despite the epidemiological trend, scant research has examined the longitudinal development of heterogeneous patterns of depressive symptoms among Black American youth. Moreover, less is known on the impact of contextual covariates on depressive symptom trajectories among Black American youth. The investigation into within-group differences of depressive symptoms is crucial for culturally informed interventions. Methods: The sample consisted of 472 Black American youth and their primary caregivers from eight counties in Georgia who provided data at five time points (i.e., youth ages 11 to 15). Hypotheses were tested with latent class growth analysis to investigate multiple trajectories of depressive symptoms, and examine sociocultural and familial covariates of trajectory group, including caregiver depressive symptoms, involved vigilant parenting, racial discrimination experiences, Black pride, and internalized racism. Results: Four-classes of depressive symptoms were identified including stable low (58.4%); high start, decreasing (20%); later onset (13%); and high and increasing (8.5%). Family and race-related predictors differentiated youth’s depressive symptom trajectories class and identified warning signs for high-symptomology trajectories. Conclusions: Findings provide novel insights into developmental patterns of depressive symptoms and the role of contextual and sociocultural factors within a sample of Black American youth. Implications include treatment and prevention recommendations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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